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Europe must ‘stop treating Islam as a security threat’ Turkey – TRT World

Fast News

Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun calls for an end to "securitisation of Islam and European Muslims" during the launch of European Islamophobia Report 2019.

European governments, opinion leaders, and policymakers "must stop" treating Islam as a security threat and Muslims as potential criminals, a top Turkish government official said.

"Don't do that," Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun told a web panel during the launch of the European Islamophobia Report 2019.

"Islamophobia is a global threat that places millions of Muslims at risk," he said.

Stressing that there has been a notable increase in the number of attacks against Muslims, Islamic places of worship and community centres across Europe, he said, "The frequency of those attacks contributes to their normalisation."

Yearly report

The yearly report was launched by Turkish think-tank SETA, which provides country-specific surveys on the development of Islamophobia in 32 European countries.

The latest report has largely focused on how Islamophobia undermines the life of millions of Muslim citizens, weakens domestic security, and strengthens the rise of xenophobic and racist groups in Europe.

Altun also criticised mainstream Western media for "glorifying far-left terrorism."

"Although the mainstream media opposes Islamophobia out of political correctness, it has had no problem glorifying far-left terrorism," he said, adding " the securitisation of Islam and European Muslims is a source of concern."

Source: TRT World

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Europe must 'stop treating Islam as a security threat' Turkey - TRT World

Cohen: Coronavirus story is not over – The Manchester Journal

By Rabbi Michael M. Cohen

I understand Michael Cooperman's frustration ("Political correctness run amok," Journal, June 12) with what the coronavirus has brought to our lives. We are fortunate when compared to many places in the Unites States and around the world our numbers even at peak were much lower, and we are blessed that our numbers are so low at present. That was done by all of us working together to get to this point. But this coronavirus story is not over, and we should not be lulled into a false sense of security with the present good numbers.

As Dr. Michael Polifka points out, "COVID-19 infection result isn't just complete recover or death. There are lots of folks who have recovered with significant persistent sequelae (lung/heart/kidney/brain) that will last for weeks/months and probably permanent for some. And the severe cases of COVID are not just the elderly, infirm and immunocompromised. There are young adults who have had severe infections and an increasing syndrome among young previously completely healthy children of catastrophic illness. Because the absolute number of these cases in Vermont are small, it's easy not to relate. A parent/relative or neighbor of such a child has, no doubt, a very different point of view."

The main function, by way of its spontaneous mutation, of the coronavirus is to find as many hosts as possible and spread. It is biologically almost perfectly constructed to do just that, and its collateral damage is the death of humans. It has no morality when it chooses whom to infect. We humans are not solely a biological entity. We have a consciousness and the ability to weigh decisions from the standpoint of ethics, morality, as well as philosophy and other values. That is the framework we are operating under now to try to decide what is the best option vis-a-vis the coronavirus. That is not an easy decision to reach with so many competing human factors and values.

What we do know is this. Our virus numbers are very low now. We also know the coronavirus has not disappeared. As we have been painfully reminded of late about racism; if one doesn't notice something it does not mean it is not there. We also know there is a correlation between social distancing, which is not social isolation, and lowering or helping to keep the coronavirus in check. We also know a second wave is very possible, and perhaps even more deadly than the first wave. We also know a community only needs one "patient zero" for the coronavirus to come in and quickly spread throughout a community. Until an effective vaccine is available and given to a large portion of the population, we will need to continue to live with and adjust our lives accordingly.

Which leads to Cooperman's car analogy. Yes, driving kills people, but we don't stop driving. But we also do many things to mitigate its danger. We know that reduced speed limits, mandatory wearing of seat belts, and installing baby seats have saved thousands of lives. The latter two one can argue are inconvenient and like with face masks now, there was a lot of opposition to seat belts when those laws were introduced. Now most of us don't get in car accidents, but we all wear seat belts as a social response, and we are all the better because of that.

That is not political correctness run amok (a loaded term in and of itself), but rather a prudent response to making driving safer; not eliminating driving. So as we all drive down the coronavirus highway, for the foreseeable future, wearing masks, keeping our distance from each other, and other smart practices are ways we can still socialize, educate and work.

Rabbi Michael M. Cohen lives in Manchester Center.

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Cohen: Coronavirus story is not over - The Manchester Journal

What Happens When Youre Defensive and Dismissive – Adweek

It shouldnt take scores of people mobilizing in the streets in order for marginalized folks voices to be heard. A common refrain from marginalized people is that they refuse to remain silent. They want their grievances to both be acknowledged and addressed.

Government and corporations find themselves seemingly caught off guard during this current climate of global civil protests. Curiously though, executives and other leaders repeatedly say theyre sorry they didnt listen to their employees or that they didnt know various groups of people felt marginalized, ignored, hurt or worse.

All of this indicates that there is a significant issue regarding process. One of my academic mentors told me when you have a bad outcome, then you likely have a bad process.

Ultimately, creating an inclusive mentality requires a person or organization to consistently critique itself and be open to change.

The first step then is to examine your culture, more specifically, the inclusivity portion. How welcoming are we of people who are different from us? How much does everyone feel valued? How much do we value contributions from all people? How do we respond when we commit offenses against our peers and colleagues?

Before we continue, we must make a valuable distinction between inclusivity and political correctness. I operationalize inclusivity as acting in a way that widens the tent, consciously behaving in a manner that tries to make as many people as possible feel included and valued. Conversely, political correctness is acting in such a way that you wont get into trouble. In other words, inclusivity is a core value whereas political correctness is an expedient behavior without much substance to back it up.

If our culture is inclusive, then we celebrate difference and solicit as many perspectives as we can because our goal is to expand our base, not narrowly cling to a restrictive vision of how a few people think something should be. From an inclusivity perspective, diversity is not a box to check; rather, diversity is part of the core product. And for businesses, diversity is often correlated to increased profits.

How can you correct a problem if you dont know there is a problem? Even if we practice an inclusive mindset daily, were still going to forget people or commit offenses toward people (I know I do). When adversity hits, then youll know the inclusivity level of your culture. If the culture is strong, then people feel more likely to speak up. Researchers Stephen Stubben and Kyle Welch summarize part of their findings on their study of whistleblowers thusly: All companies have their share of concerns, but not all companies have a culture where employees feel secure and valued when sharing feedback. We found that on the balance, more reports are a good thing, reflecting greater trust in management by employees and a greater flow of information to management about potential problems.

You have to want to know where youve gone wrong. You have to be willing to accept criticism and be vulnerable. The criticism likely isnt that youre a bad person or a bad company; rather, you fell short in a certain way and try to do better.

However, too many people just dont want to know or ignore the evidence brought to them. In feminist scholar Nancy Tuanas taxonomies of ignorance (which is a must-read in this current environment), this is called willful ignorance. Tuana defines this as a systematic process of self-deception, a willful embrace of ignorance that infects those who are in positions of privilege, an active ignoring of the oppression of others and ones role in that exploitation.

Managements current cries of were sorry we didnt listen or were sorry we ignored you ring hollow under this framework because systems were designed to replicate dominant ideologies at the expense of inclusivity and respect. Essentially, leaders were willfully ignorant of marginalized peoples suffering because ignoring the suffering allowed the leaders to run their companies in a manner that made the current power structure comfortable.

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What Happens When Youre Defensive and Dismissive - Adweek

Canadians are not as free as wed like to believe we are – The Globe and Mail

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: THE GLOBE AND MAIL; SOURCE IMAGES: ISTOCK PHOTO

Philip Slaytons books include Mighty Judgment: How The Supreme Court of Canada Runs Your Life and the recently published Nothing Left to Lose: An Impolite Report on the State of Freedom in Canada.

Is Canada a free country?

What a question! Of course it is. Lets tick off the reasons why; we know them by heart. Why waste time on this?

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We elect those who govern us. We have an independent judiciary. We have an unfettered press. Young people have access to a competent educational system. We have civilian control of the police. We are a tolerant and peaceable people. We acknowledge the worth of the individual. We are socially progressive and right-thinking. We have a constitutionally entrenched bill of rights, guaranteeing fundamental freedoms, democratic rights, mobility rights, legal rights and equality rights. What could be better? As our anthem says, God keep our land glorious and free!

But wait a moment. Is all this completely true?

Complacency about our freedoms in Canada is not well-founded. There are things to be careful about, quite apart from the way government abbreviated our rights during the COVID-19 pandemic panic hopefully, but not certainly, temporarily. There are fundamental causes for concern.

First, Canadians are generally unduly and dangerously deferential to authority. We often defer to status and presumed expertise to judges, bank presidents, medical experts, university professors, senior bureaucrats and other assorted pundits and sages. After all, despite the fact that these peoples views are sometimes vague, suspect and contradictory, they must be more intelligent and better informed than we are. Otherwise, how did they get to their positions?

Our well-known politeness and civility accentuate our deference to authority. Of course, as we look around the world at the divisive and confusing Brexit debate in Britain, for example, or at Donald Trumps shambolic and angry United States we might congratulate ourselves on a Canadian restraint that helps avoid debilitating and absurd excess. But this is not a straightforward calculus. Excessive deference and restraint only bury ideas that have merit and marginalize their advocates. They alienate dissenters from the mainstream political system, limiting participation in public debate and the flow of contrary ideas. They promote easy acceptance of things that an engaged populace should be quarrelling about. They leave us vulnerable to those to whom we defer and the direction they would take us.

We freely elect those who govern us, that is true, but our political process and constitutional structure is seriously flawed. Our first-past-the-post electoral system gives little room to smaller but important political parties that garner significant percentages of the popular vote. The prime minister and the executive branch of government dominate the elected legislature in the lawmaking process. This has been particularly evident during the pandemic, when vast amounts of money have been spent and radical programs put in place with minimal parliamentary oversight. Ordinary members of Parliament? The first Trudeau described backbench MPs as nobodies when they were not on Parliament Hill. They scurry around, taking orders from the prime minister if they are members of the governing party, powerless and irrelevant if they are not. Parliamentary procedures and devices omnibus bills, for example emasculate parliamentary debate. And the countrys constitution is lopsided, giving the provinces complete power over cities, where most Canadians live, depriving municipal governments of the authority and financial resources to do what their citizens want and need.

An independent and fair justice system, accessible to all, is an essential part of a free democracy. One job of the justice system is to protect citizens from government and from each other. Protection from government, especially in defence of minority rights, is essential in Canada, a country where the supremely powerful executive branch has the ability to ride roughshod over anyone. To their credit, the courts have, from time to time, held government at bay since the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But on other occasions, using the Charter, they have inappropriately decided fundamental public policy questions that should be answered by elected representatives, such as the laws concerning abortion, prostitution, aboriginal title, the definition of marriage and medical assistance in dying. Matters once properly considered political issues, to be dealt with by application of generally accepted public policy legislated into law by elected representatives of the people, have been recharacterized as legal questions to be answered by appointed judges.

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Meanwhile, for economic reasons lawyers cost a lot few Canadians have access to the justice system. Few can afford to assert or defend their rights against government or each other. In particular, the ordinary citizen may desperately need the protection of the courts if he is the target of the awesome legal power and unmatched financial resources of the government. David Johnston, a former governor-general and a lawyer who is not given to controversial statements, gave a hard-hitting speech at the 2011 annual meeting of the Canadian Bar Association in Halifax: For many today, the law is not accessible, save for large corporations and desperate people at the low end of the income scale charged with serious criminal offences. Nothing has changed since 2011. The former Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, has frequently pointed out this frightening feature of our justice system.

Canadas traditional free press, essential to exposing and reining in the excesses of those in authority, has largely collapsed as advertisers flee to the internet and subscriptions decline. It has been replaced by social-media commentators who, for the most part, lack resources, credibility and discipline. The amplification and validation effects of the internet an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information, according to Tom Friedman of The New York Times allow isolated and uninformed individuals to join together electronically in hate and become a threatening and cocksure worldwide community that instantly condemns and convicts those believed to have transgressed. Social media, used in this way, subverts and undermines a legal system that many have laboured mightily for a long time to put into place and develop for the common good one that seeks to uncover the facts and presumes innocence.

Universities have also let us down. They have replaced education with job training in their mandates, and free speech with political correctness in their values. A curious and well-informed mind is a free mind, and a person with a free mind is a free person; creating this free person is what education, particularly postsecondary education, is meant to do. Universities need to reject a corporate consumer-driven model; a student is not a client. Universities must eschew misguided vocationalism, emphasize the development of critical thinking in particular, the ability to distinguish between a good argument and a bad argument and recognize that society needs dreamers at least as much as technicians. They need a fee structure that makes postsecondary education available to all without career-distorting long-term debt. And they need to welcome the expression of all views, even extreme ones. They must reject any attempts to suppress them, whether they come from the political right or the political left, and deploy critical thinking, good judgment and a sense of humour instead of a heavy-handed suppressive approach to repudiate views that seem wrong and dangerous.

Meanwhile, our concept of human rights has become vague and overly accommodating. Expansive notions of human rights, and an energetic bureaucracy enforcing them, can chill the free expression of unpopular ideas and opinions. We should be wary of human rights newly invented by special interest groups. Some may have a legitimate place in the permanent list of rights that must be protected; others are repressive or trivial ideas intended to deceive and compel. As Dominique Clment, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, wrote: Human rights is the language we use to frame the most profound and the most commonplace grievances. Sometimes, it can seem as if the main purpose of human-rights laws and principles is to enforce what is politically correct, rather than as one might naively expect to protect freedom of speech and action by those who think differently.

And our police forces have run rampant. Just look at how police responded to demonstrations at the 2010 Group of 20 summit in Toronto, for example, or at the Canada-wide practice of carding Black Canadians, or the general treatment by police of racialized groups, or our national-security organs excessive reaction to spurious terrorist threats. We need the police to keep order and shield us from harm, but they can be a threat themselves. Former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie caught part of the predicament in the 2009 Charter case of R. v. Grant: While the uniformed police embody societys collective desire for public order and livable and safe communities, they also present a serious and continuing risk to the individuals right to be left alone by the state. Add in surveillance and the continuing loss of privacy to the mix accelerated in the age of the pandemic and consider the consequences.

Economic inequality has increased dramatically and vast parts of the population have been rendered financially impotent, unable to secure even modest housing, vulnerable to disease (the poor are far more likely to contract the coronavirus than the affluent) and vulnerable to exploitation by a handful of rich people and corporations. There are many more poor people than rich people, and in a true democracy each person has only one vote. You might expect that a poor majority would make certain that wealth was redistributed in its direction, through tax policy and social programs. Yet, by and large, this does not happen, because inequality corrupts democracy. One explanation is that political power goes hand in hand with riches; those with money can influence opinion, thwart the popular will and protect themselves.

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The treatment of Indigenous people in Canada remains appalling. Their plight is a wound that never heals. Any mention of it easily evokes pain, misunderstanding, resentment and anger. We measure the freedom of a democratic society by the extent to which all of its members are free. A free society is one where those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable are respected and helped by all so that they enjoy almost as much liberty as the person who lives in the big house on the hill. So long as Indigenous people are badly treated, and until a desperate history is overcome and ceases to determine the future, our country will continue to fall short of freedom.

And then there are the horrors of climate change and the collapse of biodiversity, catastrophes now sidelined by obsession with the coronavirus. How much freedom will we have when fires sweep across our country, the seas rise relentlessly, the animals die and the beauty of nature is gone? How much freedom will we have when there are vast migrations of people across continents, fleeing natural disasters, ignoring national borders, fighting for scarce resources?

What is to be done? There can be no freedom without selfless, principled, informed and courageous leaders. There can be no freedom without selfless citizens committed to civic engagement and the common good. The general welfare must trump personal interest if we are to survive, let alone prosper. If political leaders care mostly for themselves and their personal political ambition, and average citizens care mostly for themselves and their immediate families, the result will be societal and state dysfunction, a pointless and unproductive butting of heads leading to a dystopia where freedom has been lost and social progress reversed. If that happens, there will be nothing left to lose and there really will be a simple, one-word answer to the question of whether Canada is truly free.

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Canadians are not as free as wed like to believe we are - The Globe and Mail

Film it over: Racial stereotypes in cinema and literature – Telegraph India

Of the various Academy Awards that the film, Gone with the Wind, won in 1940, Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy, the housekeeper in the OHara household, received Best Supporting Actress. It made her the first African-American actor to be so acknowledged. But Queen Latifah, the singer and actor who said after George Floyds killing that Gone with the Wind should be gone forever, suggested that McDaniels success was hardly glamorous. The actor was not let into the auditorium till her turn came to receive the award, and she had to read out a speech written by the studio. This incident, whether or not it happened exactly this way, exemplifies the hypocrisy that underlies the political correctness cloaking discrimination. HBO Maxs decision to take the film off its streaming platform after Floyds death, the Black Lives Matter movement and an article criticizing the films and by extension, Margaret Mitchells novels racial stereotypes is not entirely free of this piousness. The romanticization of the happy slave and the imagined grace of life in the pre-Civil War South that first produced the Ku Klux Klan, and the complete erasure of the humiliation, pain, violence and oppression associated with slavery in the novel and the film produced sharp criticism even in the 1940s. Neither is George Floyd the first African American to fall victim to police or State injustice and brutality.

The nub of the problem lies elsewhere. HBO Max has announced it will bring back the film with a note on its context. But if each creative product had to have a cautionary note because the age has changed, then the world of art would be a rather bristly space. Each creation is a product of its time and is, in that sense, always political even without being partisan. It reflects, often through resistance, the power structures within which it is produced. Whether it transcends time and place in its vision depends on the maker. The passage of time changes perceptions and values, because power structures change: so interpretations change too. Thus the reader, viewer or listener also confers meaning. If a film needs a context before it can be streamed in 2020 then there is need to worry about the emancipation of mind achieved by non-African-Americans since the Civil War and the civil rights movement. A warning note for a particular film not the only one with the theme suggests that its continuing appeal relies on an echo in many. Much of the politics, evidently, remains secretly unchanged.

India excels in discrimination. It runs so deep that it is invisible. But an indication that times may change minds may change is heralded, for example, by the burgeoning of Dalit literature and its translation. That does not mean that older works, some considered classics, must be banned or made politically correct. Should all works that glorify women at home and curse them when they step out be given explanatory notes too?

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Film it over: Racial stereotypes in cinema and literature - Telegraph India

The birth of the culture wars – Spiked

Many pundits and politicians seem to blame UK prime minister Boris Johnson for provoking the latest installment of the culture wars that now dominate Anglo-American public life. Sections of the media, from the New York Times to the Guardian, have claimed that Johnson wants to argue over statues to distract from his poor handling of the Covid pandemic. Others, such as Labours David Lammy, reckon Johnsons defence of the statue of Winston Churchill, against those who would deface or dismantle it, was a deliberate attempt to stoke the culture wars, and deflect attention from the Tories lack of progress on racial injustice.

These are massively disingenuous claims. After all, is it really surprising that a British prime minister would defend a memorial devoted to arguably the nations greatest modern figure? Moreover, Johnson was not initiating anything. He was responding to a movement that has been directing its energy towards the destruction of the symbols of Britains national history and culture. It takes tremendous bad faith to characterise Johnsons defensive response to an attack on British culture as an attempt to launch a culture war.

But those on Johnsons side, defending the Churchill statue, indulge in the same finger-pointing. They claim that it is their opponents, from Black Lives Matter to the identitarian left, who started the culture wars.

What is striking is that neither side seems to have anything positive to say about the culture wars. Their characterisation as poisonous, by veteran conservative commentator Charles Moore, is a sentiment shared by virtually all sides of the political argument. They disagree merely on the questions of who is to blame for them, and what they mean.

The origins of the culture war

One reason why so many observers are confused by the dynamics of the culture war is because it rarely assumes an explicit conflict-like character. It is often a silent conflict over what seem to be disparate issues gay marriage, national identity, euthanasia rather than a war between two clearly defined sides. In this sense, the modern culture war is very different to the German Kulturkampf of the 19th century, when there was an overt cultural struggle between Chancellor Bismarck and the Catholic Church.

Back then, in the late 19th century, it was evident to all observers that cultural conflict in Germany was a very real phenomenon. Matters are different today. Until recently, most commentators would insist that talk of the polarisation of culture is exaggerated; some went so far as to deny the very existence of a culture war. Those who denounced the cultural politics of Sixties radicals were often simply dismissed as backward-looking traditionalists social conservatives trying to justify their prejudices by attacking new ways of thinking and speaking.

But the culture war is real. Historically, it was set in motion in Western societies by a powerful impulse to detach the present from the past, which emerged at the turn of the 20th century. This project of liberating the present from the cultural values of the past was most clearly formulated by the Progressive movement in the US, and by the New Liberals in Britain. But it was the experience of the First World War that gave this sentiment real momentum. For the war fundamentally undermined the cultural continuity of the West.

Disconnected from the past, post-war Western societies found it difficult to develop a compelling narrative through which to transmit their cultural legacy to young people. One outcome of this development was the phenomenon known today as the generation gap. It emerged in the aftermath of the First World War precisely because it was not simply a generational gap, but also a cultural one a gap, that is, between the pre- and post-war eras. In the decades that followed, these generational tensions would come to be experienced as the problem of identity.

Some contemporary observers were indeed aware of the cultural war against the past then being waged. Writing in the 1930s, Churchill himself observed:

I wonder often whether any other generation has seen such astounding revolutions of data and values as those through which we have lived. Scarcely anything, material or established, which I was brought up to believe was permanent and vital, has lasted. Everything I was sure, or was taught to be sure, was impossible has happened.

However, many commentators at the time, and in the decades to come, were blind to this cultural conflict. They focused on the ideological conflict between communism and capitalism, and the rise of fascism, rather than the loss of cultural authority of Western values.

One reason why Western ruling elites failed to address the loss of their moral authority was because of the difficulty they had in acknowledging that their own way of life was being unravelled by powerful corrosive influences internal to it. During the 1940s and 50s, even conservative commentators failed to appreciate the scale of the problem confronting their tradition. This became clear during what was the first significant, explicit conflict in the culture war: Senator Joseph McCarthys battle with communism and its supposed threat to American values.

The rise of McCarthyism in the US is often seen as an attempt to deploy anti-communist hysteria to silence political dissent. Yet it was also an attempt to roll back the cultural influences threatening traditional norms and values. McCarthyism in the 1950s, observed the political sociologist Daniel Bell, represented an effort by some traditionalist forces to impose a uniform political morality on the society through conformity to one ideology of Americanism and a virulent form of anti-communism. (1)

At the time, McCarthyism was influential and it did intimidate many liberal and left-wing individuals. But it failed to establish cultural hegemony. In particular, McCarthy never made serious headway among intellectuals or gained any cultural credibility. McCarthyisms failure to gain and retain moral authority is demonstrated by its almost entirely negative legacy. As one critic recalled in 1997, McCarthy soon became a symbol of the moral exhaustion of the right so much so, in fact, that he is generally held in cultural contempt (2).

McCarthys anti-communist crusade can be seen as one of the earliest attempts (and failures) after the Second World War to revitalise traditional values in the face of their rapid demise. One of the most astute analyses of the McCarthy episode was provided by the conservative commentator, Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick understood that McCarthyism was not so much about communism as it was a struggle for jurisdiction over the symbolic environment (3). What was at issue was who would serve as the arbiter of culture and whose narrative would prevail.

Senator Joseph McCarthy stands before a map which charts Communist activity in the United States, 9 June 1954.

The failure of McCarthy to hold the line and the rapid decline of his reputation had important implications. These things indicated that, although a potent political resource, anti-communist ideology on its own could not contain the corrosive outcomes of the moral depletion of Western culture. Kirkpatrick asserted that McCarthys demise and the victory of his critics was a precondition of the rise of the counterculture in the 1960s (4). Whereas during the McCarthy era, the term loyalty was rarely openly contested, by the 1960s it had lost some of its cultural value. Anti-war demonstrators, draft-dodgers and ordinary members of the public rejected loyalty as an unwelcome imposition on their ability to be themselves. As Kirkpatrick recalled, the peace marchers were far more aggressive in their defiance of traditional taboos than the timid victims of Joe McCarthy. This, Kirkpatrick concluded, reflected the distance that the cultural revolution had proceeded (5).

The moral depletion of the West

The casual manner with which traditional taboos were derided in the 1960s showed that those who upheld traditional values could no longer assume that they occupied the moral high-ground. In this, the cultural assault on the values of capitalist consumer society played a significant role. However, this assault should be seen as a catalyst for, rather than a cause of, the unravelling of the Cold War consensus on Western values. The inner corrosion of the ethos of capitalism had been at work for many decades, and the lack of self-belief among the ruling elites contributed to its diminishing influence.

Since the interwar era, capitalism as a social system has found it increasingly difficult to justify itself against its critics. Matters were made worse by the reluctance of conservative and liberal thinkers to confront this problem directly.

The absence of an intellectually compelling, normative foundation for capitalism meant that even at the height of the postwar boom, capitalism was exposed to a cultural critique of its values. Consequently, even in these very favourable circumstances, capitalism acquired only a limited influence over intellectual and cultural life. This estrangement of capitalism from its own culture emerged with full force in the late 1960s, when many of its values were explicitly challenged in what would turn out to be an interminable culture war.

Writing in 1973, Irving Kristol, a leading conservative commentator, drew attention to the moral depletion of Western culture:

For well over 150 years now, social critics have been warning us that bourgeois society was living off the accumulated moral capital of traditional religion and traditional moral philosophy, and that once this capital was depleted, bourgeois society would find its legitimacy ever-more questionable. (6)

The depletion of moral capital became evident with the emergence of the counterculture, or what its opponents called adversarial culture.

Samuel Brittan, a British economist and journalist, offered a sobering analysis on the difficulty that capitalism faced in offering a compelling and authoritative account of its values. He wrote:

For a long time capitalist civilisation was able to live on this feudal legacy, and the aura of legitimacy was transferred from the feudal lord to the employer, from the mediaeval hierarchy of position to that derived from the luck of the marketplace. But this feudal legacy was bound to be extinguished by the torchlight of secular and rationalistic inquiry, which was itself so closely associated with the rise of capitalism. (7)

Brittan believed that modern politicians and middle-class leaders lacked the glamour and the heroic qualities of the leaders of the past. And therefore their authority over the masses was limited. At most they are tolerated on the strict condition that they bring results, he wrote. Brittan asserted that the personal qualities of middle-class leaders did not help to kindle that affection for the social order which is probably necessary if it is not to be blamed for the inevitable tribulations and disappointments of most peoples lives (8).

By the 1970s, it became clear that supporters of adversarial culture had gained the upper hand. As a memo from Daniel Moynihan to Nixon in 1970 stated:

No doubt there is a struggle going on in this country of the kind the Germans used to call a Kulturkampf. The adversary culture which dominates almost all channels of information transfer and opinion formation has never been stronger, and as best I can tell it has come near to silencing the representatives of traditional America.

Since the 1970s, the representatives of traditional America have been constantly on the defensive. Instead of initiating debates and attempting to set the agenda, they have been continually forced to react to the latest blow directed at their way of life. This cycle of defensive responsiveness can be seen on many issues, from gay marriage or trans rights to claims about white privilege.

The paralysis of traditionalists

The pessimistic diagnosis offered by Moynihan and Brittan was widespread among conservative thinkers. Periodic attempts to promote back to basics campaigns in the 1970s and 1980s proved to be singularly ineffective. At this point in time, the mainstream conservative and right-wing parties attempted to evade the consequences of their cultural isolation by emphasising their ability to achieve economic success. The high point of this strategy arrived during the Thatcher-Reagan years, when their brand of economic liberalism gained hegemony over public life. However, what the supporters of Thatcher and Reagan failed to notice, or acknowledge, was that despite the electoral success of their parties, their opponents were winning the culture war. Paradoxically, it was during the Thatcher and Reagan years that what came to be known as political correctness gained ascendancy and identity politics became institutionalised, first on campuses and later in the public and private sectors.

Today, when the reality of a culture war is widely recognised, it is worth noting that until recently almost all sides of the political divide were reluctant to draw attention to it. That is why supporters of political correctness went out of their way to deny there was such a thing as PC. Similarly, until recently, advocates of identity politics insisted that identity politics was a dishonest invention of their opponents.

Patrick Buchanan delivers his 'culture-war speech' at the Republican Party conference, August, 1992 (YouTube).

The culture war was not a suitable topic for discussion in polite elite circles. When Patrick Buchanan made his famous culture-war speech at the 1992 Republican Party conference, he faced a tirade of hostile criticism for what was described as his extreme rhetoric. Buchanans call to arms went against the grain of the prevailing narrative. Buchanan insisted that differences over values were far more significant than who gets what arguments over economic resources:

It is about who we are. It is about what we believe. It is about what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as the Cold War itself

His denunciation of what he perceived as a threat to the American way of life showed that this was now being conceived of as a war, rather than as party-political rivalry within a shared moral universe. Buchanan later expanded on this point by contrasting the conflict faced by 1990s America with that of the interwar depression. Citing Roosevelt, who said that our common difficulties concern thank God, only material things, Buchanan noted that, in contrast, our national quarrel goes much deeper.

What was noteworthy about this speech was not simply its content but that Buchanan articulated it in public, at a major party conference and in front of television cameras. Hitherto, the conflict that Buchanan drew attention to had essentially been a silent one.

One reason why Buchanans speech caused such a stir was because, by 1992, the old traditional elites had more or less been entirely sidelined by their adversaries. The countercultural movement had been institutionalised, and its representatives dominated institutions of culture, higher education and the public sector. And, since then, businesses and the private sector have also come under its sway.

Having gained hegemony, members of this countercultural establishment are now less and less afraid to impose their own values on the rest of society. From their standpoint, Boris Johnson is an elite outlier, and his defence of Churchill offers them a reminder that there are still obstacles to the realisation of the project of detaching society from the legacy of its past. They now constitute the cultural establishment, and people who wish to defend the statues of Churchill or Abraham Lincoln are their countercultural adversaries.

At present, the culture war is a one-sided conflict that is directed at a defensive traditionalist target. Why this is so, and what are the issues at stake, will be discussed in part two of this essay, next Friday.

Frank Furedis How Fear Works: The Culture of Fear in the Twenty-First Century is published by Bloomsbury Press.

All pictures, unless otherwise stated, by: Getty.

(1) The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, by Daniel Bell, Heinemann, 1976, p77

(2) Dynamics of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War, by A Kramer, Oxford University Press, 2007

(3) Politics and the new class. by JJ Kirkpatrick, Society, 16(2), 1979, p42

(4) Politics and the new class. by JJ Kirkpatrick, Society, 16(2), 1979, p43

(5) Politics and the new class. by JJ Kirkpatrick, Society, 16(2), 1979, p44

(6) Capitalism, Socialism and Nihilism, by Irving Kristol, Public Interest, issue 31, 1973, p12

(7) The Economic Contradictions of Democracy, by S Brittan, British Journal of Political Science, Vol 5, No 2, 1975, p149

(8) The Economic Contradictions of Democracy, by S Brittan, British Journal of Political Science, Vol 5, No 2, 1975, p149

Help spiked prick the Covid consensus

So here we are 12 weeks into Britains three-week lockdown. We hope you are all staying sane out there, and that spiked has been of some assistance in that. We have ramped up our output of late, to provide a challenge to the Covid consensus. But we couldnt have done that without your support. spiked unlike so many things these days is completely free. We rely on our loyal readers to fund our journalism. So if you enjoy our work, please do consider becoming a regular donor. Even 5 per month can be a huge help. You can donate here.Thank you! And stay well.

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The birth of the culture wars - Spiked

Proposed overhaul of university fees nothing short of radical – Sydney Morning Herald

This is the latest development for a sector caught in the escalation of the culture wars. The government changed the rules to its $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy three times, in order to ensure no university could claim it. Smashed by a decline in international student revenue due to coronavirus travel restrictions, universities face a difficult future without government assistance.

Universities have been caught in an escalating culture war.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Its clear, though, that sympathy isnt forthcoming. Many members of the government harbour suspicions of tenured radicals stalking the corridors of academe. Conservatives have come to think of universities as incubators of progressive thinking and so-called political correctness.

But what will be the effects of education policy being conducted as culture war politicking?

Its tempting to see this as a step towards a university system aimed at cultivating quiet Australians. Before and after last years election victory, Scott Morrison spoke of these compliant compatriots: hard-working people in the suburbs who neither campaign in the streets nor follow the political news every day, and are happy for politics to happen without them.

These are the very opposite of the kind of people who are formed through a liberal arts education. Students of the humanities and social sciences are taught to ask questions about power and democracy. Theyre trained to be critical, curious and to think for themselves. Theyre trained to be active citizens who wont just faithfully leave it to others to govern without scrutiny. By discouraging students from the arts, the government makes clear it doesnt see the virtues of a certain kind of citizenship.

This proposed fee move also shift things further towards a model of universities as job factories. Universities are being tasked with churning out degrees for the purpose of directing labour into the job market. Its a crude view of education. Surely, there must remain a place for pursuing knowledge for its own sake. We must see education not as an extended exercise in economics, but essentially as an exercise in civilising the mind.

Former prime ministers Malcolm Fraser, Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott, John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating at the memorial service for Gough Whitlam.Credit:AAP

At the same time, an arts education is too often derided for not being job relevant. The opposite is true. Just ask our political leaders. Seven of the last nine Australian prime ministers were arts or social science university graduates: Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, Malcolm Fraser, Gough Whitlam. Were their degrees not job relevant?

There remain many uncertainties about these proposed changes (which will first need to make it through Parliament). Its far from clear whether hiking course prices will change student preferences. But if there is some impact, one possibility is that, in the future, only those from affluent families will feel comfortable enough to study the arts, humanities and social sciences. Were that to happen, it would seriously diminish our public culture.

Either way, the message of this weeks announcement is clear. The traditional liberal arts education provided by universities is under challenge. The civic purpose of universities is being fundamentally contested. And its all because of this now perpetual culture war that defines our national politics.

Tim Soutphommasane is a political theorist and professor at the University of Sydney.

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Proposed overhaul of university fees nothing short of radical - Sydney Morning Herald

Trump says restoring partial funding to WHO is ‘being considered’ | TheHill – The Hill

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump slams Fox after hydroxychloroquine warning: 'Looking for a new outlet' Trump threatens permanent freeze on WHO funding without 'major' reforms within 30 days Schumer: Trump's statements on hydroxychloroquine 'is reckless, reckless, reckless' MORE confirmed Saturday that he is considering partially restoring funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) after slashing contributions to the body last month.

[T]his is just one of numerous concepts being considered under which we would pay 10% of what we have been paying over many years, matching much lower China payments. Have not made final decision. All funds are frozen, Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

Lou, this is just one of numerous concepts being considered under which we would pay 10% of what we have been paying over many years, matching much lower China payments. Have not made final decision. All funds are frozen. Thanks! https://t.co/xQUzHy4NDa

Before the president announced last month he is cutting funding to the group amid withering criticism from Republicans over its handling of the coronavirus, the U.S. contributed roughly $400 million per year to the WHO, meaning the contribution would be cut to $40 million if the U.S. were to pay just 10 percent.

Trump first halted funding to the WHO for what he described as a mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak.

The WHOs attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures, Trump said in the Rose Garden last month, referring to his decision earlier this year to halt travel from China, where the pandemic began. The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion.

Trump said at the time that a review of the body would take between 60 and 90 days, and that the administration in the meantime would channel the funds to the areas most needed.

Trump and Republicans had launched a cavalcade of criticism at the WHO for disparity in funding the organization receives from the U.S. versus China, and for supposedly not thoroughly vetting Chinas figures on its coronavirus deaths and cases.

The mission of the WHO is to get public health information to the world so every country can make the best decisions to keep their citizens safe. When it comes to Coronavirus, the WHO failed,"Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said in a statementin March. "They need to be held accountable for their role in promoting misinformation and helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic."

The GOPs increased focus on the WHO coincided with intense scrutiny over Trumps own handling of the coronavirus, which critics say was slow to get off the ground and led to delays in distributing testing kits, personal protection equipment and other tools to states across the country.

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Trump says restoring partial funding to WHO is 'being considered' | TheHill - The Hill

Coronavirus: Facebook and YouTube remove Ireland conspiracy video – Business Insider

A video filled with misleading claims about COVID-19 was watched almost a million times on Facebook and YouTube over the last week, prompting both firms to remove the clip.

The hour-long video was watched more than 500,000 times across both platforms over the last week, after being uploaded by Dave Cullen, a right-wing vlogger and activist based in Ireland, best known for his "Computing Forever" YouTube channel, in which he regularly rails against political correctness, online censorship and "wokeness".

In the clip, Cullen and Prof Dolores Cahill, chairperson of the Irish Freedom Party, a fringe political outfit with ties to the alt right, make a series of inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims about COVID-19.

Ireland started easing COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, following a strict two-week period of lockdown. The country has suffered around 25,000 confirmed cases and close to 1,500 deaths linked to the virus.

While Cahill, a professor at University College Dublin, appears to have a credible background in virology and disease transmission, which she details extensively in the clip's opening 10 minutes while failing to mention her own political affiliations or aspirations.

Insisting social distancing in Ireland is unnecessary, Cahill tells viewers the country should exit lockdown completely "within the next week or 10 days", adding that she would "be happy to take responsibility for those actions and be held to account".

Cahill goes on to claim those that have recovered from COVID-19 are immune for life, that a combination of vitamins C, D, and zinc will stop most people from developing symptoms, and that hydroxychloroquine will effectively cure victims of the virus.

In the latter half of the video, Cahill's pronouncements become increasingly political, with calls for "an inquiry into the media and the politicians" in Ireland, suggesting the country's national broadcaster RTE should have its licence fee revoked.

Almost all of the claims made by Cahill and Cullen in the video have either been debunked or remain subject to intense scientific research, such as the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19.

Despite being touted by US President Donald Trump as a miracle drug, trials have shown it to have little to no impact in treating the virus.

Two observational studies, published in theNew England Journal of Medicineand theJournal of the American Medical Association, found that from thousands of hospitalized coronavirus patients, those who got the drug did not do any better or worse than those who didn't get it.

The JAMA study also found that those who received hydroxychloroquine combined with the antibiotic azithromycin had a higher rate of cardiac arrest.

Additionally, while some initial studies saw promising results from the drug, experts warned that those studies were "limited by their low quality, often enrolling tiny groups of patients or lacking a control group to compare the results against."

There has been limited evidence that vitamin supplements, used to boost an individual's immune system, could help fight off infection, the results are far from conclusive.

At the same time, there is no reliable evidence that a recovered COVID-19 patient will be "immune for life". In a statement released in April, the World Health Organization said there was "currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection".

Although it is likely that recovered patients will have developed some degree of immunity, there is no consensus on how long it would be likely to last.

Cullen's video, which accrued more than 500,000 views across Facebook and YouTube, raises questions over the tech firms' approaches to misinformation.

Facebook launched its "COVID-19 Information Hub" earlier this year, compiling guidance from reliable sources such as the CDC and WHO and placing it at the top of every user's news feed.

Meanwhile, YouTube claims to have been manually reviewing and removing thousands of videos that spread dangerous or misleading coronavirus information. The company has not made clear if Cullen's video meets that threshold.

Apparently aware that Big Tech social media companies will struggle to keep his video offline, Cullen told viewers to "download and reupload this video everywhere," adding: "Please do."

At the time of writing, at least one other version of the video remained live on YouTube, uploaded by Kerry Baldwin, whose channel focuses "on the philosophical thought of liberty".

An unknown number of Facebook users have posted alternative links to the video on Bitchute, a YouTube alternative known for accommodating right-wing vloggers.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider: "We have removed this video for violating our stringent harmful misinformation policies.

"We are taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms and have removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of content, both proactively and following user reports."

A YouTube spokesperson said: "We're committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time, including raising authoritative content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation and showing information panels, using WHO data and information from local health authorities, to help combat misinformation."

Business Insider approached Cullen and Cahill for comment.

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Coronavirus: Facebook and YouTube remove Ireland conspiracy video - Business Insider

Trump, coronavirus, and the partisan culture war over masks – Vox.com

Wearing a mask is one of the easiest ways to contribute to the fight against coronavirus.

Infected people wearing masks are less likely to spray virus-containing droplets onto others, which means that universal mask-wearing should, in theory, make everyone safer. Theres some evidence from across the world that suggests the widespread use of masks has played a role in reducing coronavirus transmission. Studies on mask-wearing generally support it, finding that masks generally provide at least some protection. At worst, masks are a low-cost intervention that might help at the margins.

But in recent weeks, mask-wearing in the United States has become another flashpoint in the partisan culture wars.

President Trump refuses to wear a mask in public appearances including one at a factory that produces masks or in his office, despite a recent outbreak among the White House staff. Vice President Mike Pence opted not to wear one when he visited the Mayo Clinic, a prominent medical facility in Minnesota thats treating coronavirus patients. Many Republicans in Congress have opted not to wear masks on the House and Senate floors, despite several members of their caucus testing positive for the illness earlier this spring.

People tend to take signals from their political leadership, and rank-and-file Republicans appear to have gotten the message. New research from three political scientists Syracuses Shana Gadarian, UC-Irvines Sara Goodman, and Cornells Tom Pepinsky analyzed polling data on over 2,400 Americans attitudes and self-reported behaviors during the pandemic. They find that, after controlling for a full set of confounding variables, partisanship is a fairly strong predictor of ones likelihood of wearing a mask.

Democrats are more than 20 percentage points more likely than Republicans to (75% versus 53%) to report wearing masks in public, Pepinsky writes in a blog post summarizing their findings. Mask-wearing levels are consistently lower across the board in states that voted strongly for Trump.

Why would Republicans treat masks as a partisan issue?

A series of tweets from R.R. Reno, the editor of the conservative religious magazine First Things, is clarifying: In a diatribe that went viral on Tuesday night for all the wrong reasons, Reno praised Trump for failing to wear a mask when meeting a group of World War II veterans and went on to describe the very idea of masks as a kind of surrender:

Reno has written a lot of goofy stuff during the coronavirus epidemic. But what hes saying here tells us a lot about the rights approach to coronavirus more broadly.

The first thing that leaps out is that the anti-mask crusade reflects a particular vision of masculinity. Renos reframing of an obvious public health measure as a kind of cowardice, something tough World War II veterans would never do, is a thinly veiled way of calling protective masks unmanly. As my colleague Anna North argues, this strain of anxious masculinity is a consistent theme in anti-mask arguments on the right.

The second is the argument that mask-wearing is a form of political correctness. Renos reasoning is incoherent if youre willing to visit your mother, presumably you should take mask-wearing even more seriously but it illustrates the category of thinking hes relying on here. The question in his mind is not does wearing a mask contribute to public health, but rather what does wearing a mask say about where I stand in the culture war. He sees the issue not through the lens of substance, but of symbolism.

When you look at the broader Republican response to masks through the lens of Renos thinking, it starts to make a lot more sense. This is a political movement that has been built to wage a culture war; it has no greater objective than owning the libs. And the best way to own them is to defeat them in combat over identity: gender, race, sexuality, and the like.

The war on masks is a way of taking a public health crisis a situation that demands political unity and best practices in governance and reshaping it into a culture war competition. The question is not are we doing a good job handling this so much as whose team do you want to be on, the namby-pamby liberals or the strong fearless conservatives?

It is difficult for members of the modern organized conservative movement to see political issues outside the lenses of partisanship and the culture wars. At a time when unity on public health matters is paramount, on issues ranging from masks to testing to the timing of reopening, this is dangerous.

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Trump, coronavirus, and the partisan culture war over masks - Vox.com

Gurdwaras and Sikh Organisations Reject UK Governments Places of Worship Task Force – Sikh Siyasat News

May 18, 2020| By Sikh Siyasat Bureau

by Harnek Singh*

The Sikh Network has conducted a survey of over 1,500 Sikhs after the government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy last Monday on how the government has handled the COVID-19 crisis from a Sikh community perspective.

The results of the survey attached indicate many are very critical of the government handling of the COVID-19 crisis to date. There are statistics and comments on:

the UK Governments initial response to Covid-19

the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for key workers

the high proportion of BAME deaths of those working in the NHS and social care sectors

the high proportion of Sikh deaths from Covid-19

the testing and contact tracing strategy

the total lack of consultation and understanding on restrictions imposed on Gurdwaras

the unwillingness of government to issue funeral guidance specific to each faith for reasons of political correctness

the treatment of tens of thousands British Sikhs stranded in Punjab, India

the governments failure to engage with Sikh organisations connected with Gurdwaras on their re-opening

Sikh community organisations linked to Gurdwaras and leading Gurdwaras are very unhappy the government is taking advantage of the community i.e. providing 1 million free meals but ignoring our genuine concerns.

Leading Sikh organisations and those running Gurdwaras do not take the new Places of Worship taskforce seriously. As far as Sikhs are concerned it lacks all credibility.

Update:

Over 200 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations in the UK have signed up to the following open letter to the UK Government put together by the Sikh Federation (UK)

The Sikh Council (UK) has been developing guidance and best practice working with Gurdwaras from across the UK. This guidance was sent by the Sikh Council UK to the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick on 11 May.

The government by its actions in the last 7 days has clearly only wanted to engage with those keen for places of worship to remain closed while encouraging people back to work and businesses to open.

The Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations have taken a very robust line, given Government an ultimatum to meet, understand and discuss within 5 days and have begun preparations to safely open Gurdwaras to the public.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: We have just finished a Zoom call with dozens of Gurdwaras from across the UK hosted by Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Southall and not a single Gurdwara supported the Sikh appointment to the Places of Worship Taskforce and its direction of travel with regards to Gurdwaras.

Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations reject Governments Places of Worship Taskforce and their plans to open places of worship last

Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Southall [File Photo] | Image used for representational purpose

On 11 May 2020, the government announced that places of worship would reopen in the third and final phase of the governments COVID-19 recovery strategy, with 4 July earmarked as the earliest date this could happen.

Places of worship have shockingly been put into the same category as pubs, restaurants and cafes, hairdressers, libraries, museums and cinemas. This is totally unacceptable and shows a complete disrespect to places of worship and those that regularly use them.

In an attempt to silence those from faith communities the government announced the setting up of a Places of Worship Taskforce and to look into whether individual prayer might be permitted before places of worship fully reopen.

The 8-week lockdown period should have been used by government to work with Gurdwaras and other places of worship to prepare them to safely open with social distancing.

Instead Ministers have met individuals from the Sikh community that have little or no direct contact with Gurdwaras. Not surprisingly most of them have advised Gurdwaras should remain closed.

On Friday the government set up a new Places of Worship Taskforce and lost all credibility by appointing a so-called Sikh faith leader who has never been involved in running a Gurdwara, is not a practising Sikh, is from a controversial organisation that is often critical of Gurdwaras and that has been forced to apologise for inappropriate and offensive remarks about the Sikh way of life on multiple occasions.

Gurdwaras have developed guidelines to open safely with limited numbers of the public, while adhering to social distancing that were sent to Ministers a week ago. The undersigned Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations reject the Places of Worship Taskforce and are giving a public ultimatum to government to properly engage with Gurdwaras and their representatives in the next 5 days. Gurdwaras are already open to volunteers and their numbers will be increased from today to prepare for safe opening as soon as possible.

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Letters to the Editor: California students have been freed from government schools. Now they can learn – Yahoo News

Students wait to pick up laptops at Linda Esperanza Marquez High School in Huntington Park on March 26. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Rather than being deprived of education because of campus closures, as columnist Robin Abcarian complains, California's middle school and high school students have been granted a priceless opportunity to learn.

Now, they are free from all the problems that afflict government schools the teaching to the lowest common denominator, teaching to the test, mediocre textbooks, political correctness and all the rest.

Instead, suddenly liberated and with ample time and few amusements, students can drink from the springs of knowledge as deeply and widely as they wish. At their fingertips is the best of literature, history, politics, biography and autobiography, art and science and every useful subject and skill.

It's all available free online or inexpensively. I hope these lucky young people seize their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

David Amkraut, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: We cannot continue pretending that our children can continue their education as if nothing is happening around them. Administrators and teachers continue their march, dispensing assignments to stressed kids who struggle to meet the expectations of the guardians of academic rigor.

I am old enough to remember that between 30 and 40 years ago, middle school and high school were much, much simpler than they are now.

David Soto, Woodland Hills

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Letters to the Editor: California students have been freed from government schools. Now they can learn - Yahoo News

WATCH: China expert says communist regime unlike anything ‘since the Third Reich’ – Campus Reform

The FBI issued a PSA warningof the Chinese governments intention to steal American medical research in its quest to find a cure for COVID-19.

The May 13 announcement came as mounting evidence continues to expose Chinese efforts to infiltrate America's college campuses with the goal of stealing research and spreading propaganda.

"Youve got to remember that the Chinese regime is deeply racist with its Han nationalist ideology. This is something we havent quite seen since The Third Reich."

Gordon Chang, an expert on United States-China relations, and author of The Coming China Collapse, spoke with Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Cabot Phillips to break down what it all means and what must be done in response.

WATCH:

Pointing first to Chinas response to COVID-19, Chang called out the attempt to place blame on other nations, saying What we are seeing with the coronavirus is an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to change the narrative around the entire world the virus has an origin in Wuhan. Beijing has tried to change that, at times suggesting it came from the United States.

But also China has been trying to say theyve had a near perfect response to the coronavirus and western countries have been failing theres an attempt to exert Chinese influence. One thing weve got to remember is Xi believes China is the worlds only sovereign state."

Chang went on to point out how China has an extensive operation in place to steal American research, noting that estimates put the annual theft of American intellectual property at somewhere between $150-600 billion a year.

Some of that actually takes place on American college campuses. China has bought a number of college professors, a number of them have been fingered by the FBI and theyre pending investigations, and Chinese students have been engaged in activities...for instance, downloading entire databases for China.

Pointing out the danger in allowing the Chinese government a foothold on our campuses, Chang detailed how their Confucius Institutes report in reality to the Communist Partys United Front Work Department. That means these are attempts to subvert other countries. Why would China spend so much money on U.S. campuses? Its not just because they want to teach the Chinese language. They want to put forth narratives and restrict what is said about China on American campuses.

Pointing out the lack of reciprocity, he noted, The U.S. is not permitted to have institutes like this in China. You dont have a Lincoln Center or Roosevelt Institute we know that propaganda is absolutely critical to totalitarian regimes. In closing, Chang noted the impact political correctness has had on the failure of American colleges and universities to call out Chinas infiltration efforts.

What weve seen in the U.S. is political correctness gone wild in connection with coronavirus.. where any criticism of China is deemed to be xenophobic or creating racism against Chinese Americans. Thats absolutely wrong. Youve got to remember that the Chinese regime is deeply racist with its Han nationalist ideology. This is something we havent quite seen since The Third Reich. To say criticism of a racist regime is racist is absolutely wrong. People have serious concerns about China and we have to have the right to have open discussions about it without the name calling.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter:@Cabot_Phillips

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WATCH: China expert says communist regime unlike anything 'since the Third Reich' - Campus Reform

Amour to Parasite: Movies that won top prize at Cannes Film Festival in the last decade and where to watch them – The Hindu

For the first time since 1946, the Cannes Film Festival often touted to be the most revered film festival will not be held this year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several critics and film enthusiasts have expressed disappointment on social media, though Cannes director Thierry Frmaux announced that the festival will be screening its Official Selection at partnering festivals like Venice International Film Festival in September.

Today would have been the fourth day at the French Riviera under normal circumstances. Now that Cannes is out of question, we give a round-up of films that won the coveted Palme dOr in the last decade.

Based on the Buddhist book A Man Who Can Recall His Past Lives, this movie deals with the concept of reincarnation. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the movie focuses on its central character, Boonmee (Thanapat Saisaymar), who decides to spend his last days in Isan when he comes to terms with the news of his kidney failure. He lives with his sister-in-law Jen and nephew Tong. One day, out of the blue, Boonemees dead wife and his long lost son reappear in life, as he begins to contemplate his life and illness. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives became the first Thai movie to win the Palme dOr.

Terrence Malick is one filmmaker whose work has been consistently representing the Big Three Berlin, Venice and Cannes. This could be argued as his most experimental film. The Tree of Life is Terrence Malicks passionate attempt in discovering the meaning of life, whereby he chronicles the childhood memories of Mr OBrien and intercuts with visuals of the origins of the universe, in the most unassuming fashion. It was aided by terrific performances from Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. Initially, the movie faced extreme reactions from its premire at Cannes, even warranting boos and walk outs. But it subsequently bagged the top prize.

The Tree of Life is on YouTube

Devastating is one word you would come across in most reviews for the heart-rending French drama, Amour, wherein its director Michael Haneke piercesa sword into our hearts by showing us the harsh reality of losing a loved one. The movie centres around an elderly couple who live alone in an apartment, cut off from society. The husband Georges Laurent (played by the great French actor Jean-Louis Trintigent) has to take care of his wife Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) paralysed on the right side of her body.

Hanekes cold-blooded treatment of the everyday-ness of the characters might cause discomfort for viewers, but it is what it is. Here is a fun fact: Jean-Louis Trintigent was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, making him the oldest to be nominated in this category. A word of caution: do stack up with tissues when you watch it.

Amour is on Amazon Prime

She and her boyfriend indulge in a steamy love-making session, but her thoughts are somewhere else. Flashes of a woman, a stranger that she ran into that morning, appear. She is smitten by her boy-ish charm and blue hair that she cannot stop thinking about her. Blue Is The Warmest Colour, if anything, was an unapologetic celebration of lesbian love and sex. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, this French drama explores the relationship dynamics of the lead characters and how it changes, as the world inches close to accepting the LGBTQ+ community. At its Cannes screening, the movie courted controversy when critics made a plea to trim the explicit sex scenes.

Despite positive reviews, the movie was trashed by LGBTQ+ community for the overt sexualisation of lesbian love. Which is why last years Portrait of a Lady on Fire, another movie on lesbian romance, was widely seen as the movie that inverted the male gaze of Blue Is The Warmest Colour.

Blue Is The Warmest Colour is on Netflix

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the movie is based on the vintage classic, The Brothers Karamazov, by Russian novelist-philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky. Much like the celebrated novel, Winter Sleep is about the tug-of-war between the haves and the have-nots and the powerful and the powerless. Though there have been several film adaptations of Karamazov Brothers, the movie was unanimously acknowledged fresh by the critics.

In this heart-wrenching drama, acclaimed French filmmaker Jacques Audiard examines the oft-forgotten tales of immigrant crisis. Dheepan is about three Tamil refugees who flee from chaos (read: the Sri Lankan Civil War) to settle in Paris, where another chaos awaits them. We get to see the day-to-day harassment and struggle that Dheepan (Antonythasan Jesuthasan), Yalini (Kalieswari Srinivasan) and Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby) face in an alien land. Though the movie won Palme dOr, there were back-and-forth arguments among critics that Dheepan was less deserving.

Dheepan is on Netflix

Ken Loachs movies have always been about the human condition with regard to their social background. One such is the moving film I, Daniel Blake.

Daniel Blake (played by comedian Dave Johns) has to sail through the bureaucratic system in England, when he is robbed of his support allowance, even though he is deemed unfit by his doctor. With I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach made a powerful commentary on resilience and the failure of the system when it comes to protecting workers and drafting pension policies. Upon its release, the movie spawned heated debates in Parliament, forcing the then government to rethink its economic policies. Competing against Park Chan-wooks The Handmaiden, Pedro Almodovars Julieta, Asghar Farhadis The Salesman and Sean Penns The Last Face, the movie was a surprise win at Cannes.

I, Daniel Blake is on Netflix

In this satire, Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund uses art as a device to highlight the politics around contemporary artworks, mainly addressing questions like What constitutes art in the first place? Set inside the Royal Palace Museum in Stockholm, the movie is about an art curator Christian (Claes Bang) who has his own personal issues to deal with, while he also has to promote a new art installation called The Square. In addition to making a case for how you perceive art, the movie also held a mirror to society, showing the price we pay for political-correctness.

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-edas heart-rending portrait of an impoverished family that survives by shoplifting, created waves among the festival audience when it opened to favourable reviews at its premire in Cannes. The movie centres around the lives of individuals who masquerade under the blanket of a dysfunctional family. Shoplifters, whose last act left the audience misty-eyed, makes a larger statement on globalisation and the effect it has on a certain section of people, in a muffled tone without explicitly spelling out things. In a way, one could argue that both Shoplifters and Parasite are distant cousins and they fight a common enemy: capitalism. Shoplifters became the first Japanese movie to bag the Palme dOr prize.

Shoplifters is on Netflix

South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-hos Parasite is a spiritual sequel to the directors previous movie, Snowpiercer, a blazing action drama that too dealt with class politics and the survival of the fittest. Much like the family from Shoplifters, Parasite too is about a family that struggles to rise above a storm called crony capitalism. Circumstances force an underprivileged family to cook up fake identities, beginning to infiltrate and loot a wealthy family in Japan. Bong Joon-hos smart social commentary resonated with the bourgeois of the world, translating into box-office figures and awards. Parasite was the first South Korean movie to win the top prize at Cannes. The previous South Korean movie, Park Chan-wooks Oldboy (2003), only won the Grand Prix.

Parasite is on Amazon Prime

Compiled by Srivatsan S

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Amour to Parasite: Movies that won top prize at Cannes Film Festival in the last decade and where to watch them - The Hindu

Exorcism ‘now an industry’ in the UK, Government-ordered inquiry hears – Telegraph.co.uk

Anindustry ofexorcisms has been identified within the UK, a government-ordered inquiry has heard.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is continuing to hear evidence regarding allegations of abuse in religious organisations and settings.

Groups representing victims and survivors from Muslim, Sikh and south Asian groups told the Inquiry that religious authorities exhibit a wilfull lack of understanding regarding abuse.

Giving evidence to the Inquiry, which is being chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE, one activist representing victims said that she was aware of a growing number of exorcisms in the UK.

Sadia Hameed,Director of Gloucestershire Sisters, which specialises in harmful traditional practices including: honour-based violence, forced marriage and FGM, said that folk traditions, including exorcisms are becoming more prevalent.

When I was younger, it almost didnt even exist, she told the hearing, which is taking place remotely via Zoom. You might have had someone that would pray and blow on you or pray on some water and give you that water to drink, but now, were seeing this industry of exorcisms happening in the UK.

And they might be happening in a mosque setting, or they might happen in somebodys home where somebody is invited to perform an exorcism, but theyve certainly grown in prevalence in recent times, I would say in the last decade.

Pragna Patel, director of Southall Black Sisters (SBS), also told the Inquiry on Friday that the ritualised healing that takes places is often a pretext for sexual abuse.

Earlier in the week the IICSA heard evidence from Moin Azmi, vice chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), said that sexual abuse is not a rampant issue within the Muslim community.

He told the Inquiry: The sentencing within Islam is so, so severe that it gives shudders down somebody who even thinks about sexual abuse, and if thats the foundation of how Muslims think then the majority - Im not saying that there arent sexual abuses - Im saying the majority have a particular view of this issue.

In November, The Telegraph reported that witchcraft child abuse cases had risen by a third in two years, as experts blame cultural sensitivity and political correctness as barriers to protecting children.

Abuse of children based on faith or belief which includes witchcraft, spirit possession and black magic increased from 1,460 to 1,950 cases between 2016/17 and 2018/19, according to figures released by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The statistics came just months a trial at the Old Bailey which saw a mother of a then three-year-old girl become the first person to be convicted of FGM in the UK, following a failed bid to "shut up" her accusers with witchcraft.

The Ugandan woman, 37, and her Ghanaian partner, 43, both from Walthamstow, east London, were accused of cutting their daughter over the 2017 summer bank holiday.

Forty limes and other fruit were found with pieces of paper with names written on them stuffed inside, including those of police officers and a social worker involved in the investigation.

The spells and curses intended to deter police and social workers from investigating were found at the Ugandan woman's home, the trial heard.

The hearings continue.

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Exorcism 'now an industry' in the UK, Government-ordered inquiry hears - Telegraph.co.uk

Government sells farmland it was the right thing to do – Brooks Bulletin

It took over ten years, but a quarter section of grazing lease near Taber was finally sold by the Alberta government. The new owner, a nearby potato grower, now has the option to put it into a different type of ag production. One has to admire the patience of the buyer for persevering through two uncooperative previous governments and a gang of obstructionist green groups. The sale issue was never about the use of the land itself, whether for grazing or crop production, it had to do with the ideological philosophy of governments selling publically owned land to a private individual or corporate entity. The idea being that all public land is now sacred and must be kept in its original state for the public good and not used for crass commercial purposes like food production. Thats a noble philosophy for folks who believe food magically sprouts up at grocery stores every day. To be fair, preserving ecologically sensitive land is worthwhile and should be encouraged; organizations like the Nature Conservancy put their money where their mouth is to do just that. In this case, neither that organization nor other well-heeled green group was willing to buy the land to preserve it in perpetuity. I suspect that may be because the land in question had dubious environmental value and wouldnt contribute much to ecological diversity or preservation of endangered species. Without those values, it would be hard for such groups to justify spending half a million dollars on what looks like dry grassland. According to the new owner, most of the land was taken over by domestic grasses and had lost much of its native grasses. Apparently, there were no endangered species to be found either. For green groups, you would think there are better causes to pursue, but I suspect such folks feel a need to fight any threat that might upset their mythical perception of nature. Maybe its just green group busybody work. Unfortunately for their credibility, virtuous perceptions are governed by political correctness and solidarity with fellow progressive movements. This means land preservation should be championed except when it may question the actions of another liberal cause or green ideology.One cant help but note the glaring hypocrisy of green groups in this very issue and this very area. Not far from the land transaction in question and southern Alberta in general, wind farms continue to develop and proliferate. These monstrous mechanical eyesores have a fatal effect on birds, bats and raptors, some of them being endangered, yet green groups appear loathe to make any disparaging comments on their deadly impact on wildlife. It would seem supporting green windmill industrialization is more important to such folks than the lethal fate of thousands of birds and bats. I should note that not all wildlife is adversely affected, most windmill farms having thriving populations of fat coyotes. In a previous life, I attempted to get access to windmill farms to ascertain bird and bat carnage but was denied permission. The government of the day was also not interested in researching wildlife losses to windmill killing machines. I guess packs of well-fed coyotes on wind farms was the unwelcome proof. Solar panel farms have their own negative impact on land ecology. Depending on how and where they are constructed and the style of the panel, they can turn the land they cover into barren deserts or weed-infested wasteland. I am not sure if any wildlife can exist under solar panels, but that doesnt seem to worry green groups as they rarely protest their development. My point is opposing the development of a quarter section of land for agricultural purposes because of environmental concerns, while at the same time conveniently ignoring the carnage from windmills and desertification caused by solar farms is nothing more than hypocrisy at its finest. One wonders are any detailed environmental, wildlife and economic assessments done before the construction of these industrial green power schemes. But I digress.One hopes that the present government will stick to its campaign promises and continue selling public land that can be used for food production everywhere in the province. It would seem that we should do that as a matter of principle for every acre lost to windmill and solar farms and to the relentless encroachment of suburban development on agricultural land, the province should sell equivalent acres for farming elsewhere. I rest my case. Will Verboven is an ag opinion writer and ag policy consultant.

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Government sells farmland it was the right thing to do - Brooks Bulletin

Rishi Kapoor wasn’t afraid to be himself, both online.. amid celebrities who thrive on political correctness – Newsjok

Hello people, I have just twittered with these six phrases, Rishi Kapoor made his debut on Twitter a little bit greater than a decade in the past on 17 January, 2010. But he hadnt warmed up to the thought of speaking on the micro-blogging web site but. That took him one other 5 years.

According to lore, it was throughout the filming of All Is Well with Abhishek Bachchan that the late actor was reintroduced to the location. Thank you ABjr. Mutual admiration society. You truly are chip of the old block. See you on the sets shortly. A rush of tweets adopted this from different celebrities welcoming him to Twitter, a rash of latest followers and an introduction to the real Rishi Kapoor who was humorous, frank, unabashedly opinionated, passionate and as a rule crotchety. In this zero-privacy age, when his fellow celebrities nonetheless managed to maintain a faade of correctness, Kapoor wasnt afraid to simply be himself. And, thats what rapidly catapulted him to being a Twitter A-Lister.

Kapoors new public avatar coincided together with his second innings within the motion pictures. Since Bobby in 1973, he spent the following 20 years being Bollywoods favorite romantic hero. It was solely within the final decade or in order that he started to experiment and discover my range as an actor, as he instructed me throughout an interview publish the discharge of Agneepath. I am having a ball right now. Like I am at a party and there is a huge buffet and I can pick anything, he had added.

Rishi Kapoor. Twitter Image

He was recreation to play something from a homosexual principal (Student of The Year), a Dawood Ibrahim-esque don (D-Day), a cantankerous outdated man (Kapoor & Sons and 102 Not Out), a middle-class instructor struggling to make ends meet (Do Dooni Chaar) or a pimp (Agneepath).

Even as a complete new era found Kapoor has an actor, his followers outdated and new started to uncover the particular person behind the actor. Soon he was firing off a number of tweets a day; in interviews he defined that he had changed his nicotine dependence with Twitter. And, he had a point-of-view on all the pieces from self-styled god lady Radhe Maa to the sacking of Cyrus Mistry because the Tata Sons Chairman; from the rising development of Pakistan-bashing in our movies to newspaper design. He wasnt above calling out his colleagues for not attending Vinod Khannas funeral (Shameful. Not ONE actor of this generation attended Vinod Khannas funeral. And that too he has worked with them. Must learn to respect.) or the appointment of fellow actor Gajendra Chauhan because the chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India. (Advice. After all the protests and controversy, Gajendra Chauhan, the FTII Chairman should voluntarily retire. Will do good to the students.). Even as dissent turned a foul phrase, he wasnt afraid to make public his displeasure on the beef ban in 2015 tweeting, I am angry. Why do you equate food with religion?? I am a beef eating Hindu. Does that mean I am less God fearing than a non eater? Think!!

When he wasnt ranting in regards to the issues taking place on the planet, there have been dad jokes (Good news. After CM Phadnis cancels the DP and Hawking plan, he exempts booze too. Now Maharashtra can have TARBOOZE and KHARBOOZE freely!), movie trivia (Sweaters.It was a passionate collection,over a period of time,which I used in films without repeating.This info for fans inquiring about it.), sports activities (Wimbledon Why do the young ball boys scramble/haste as if they have ants in their pants?Normal running to collect the ball could also do it.), self trolling (Confession.The only co star(tried thrice)with whom I did not make a successful film.And what a co star!Sorry Madhuri!), and vital Ranbir Kapoor-related data (Another thing. I am Not and repeat NOT Ranbirs Post Box that you can drop messages or post them. Thank you, I remain yours truly-Rishi Kapoor).

Anyone who knew Kapoor nicely sufficient might attest to his love for meals and Black Label Whiskey and this was mirrored in his timeline. There had been tweets about memorable crab claws on the JW Marriot, ghar ka khaana at Bombay Canteen, consuming at Londons Le Petit Maison with spouse Neetu and son Ranbir and a disappointing birthday dinner at Daniel Bouluds New York restaurant. Kapoor beloved his foodie avatar a lot he even briefly contemplated giving up performing to turn into a meals critic (Showed my tweet to the manager. Refused to give the bill. Think I will make Food Review my profession. Adios acting and Films. This is better!)

Then there have been the typically inappropriate, typically sexist and fairly often impolite tweets. He mercilessly blocked trolls, accused folks of not having a way of humour when he posted tasteless memes that includes Hillary Clinton and Kim Kardashian and slid into folkss DMs to abuse them when the digital fights received heated.

All this and extra was what Kapoor was in actual life as nicely. One of my favorite recollections of him isnt from the quite a few instances I interviewed him on movie units or at his workplace in RK Studio, however from an after get together at Krishna Raj, his lovely residence on Pali Hill. At a movie get together, Kapoor, who was in excessive spirits didnt need the night time to finish. He invited a handful of individuals residence for one final nightcap. I wasnt part of his inner circle however by advantage of being the final particular person he was speaking to when he determined on internet hosting the after get together, I used to be added to the group. At residence, he was a consummate host and took cost behind the bar whereas giving very particular meals directions to the home assist. He remembered what everybody was ingesting, made enjoyable of the one vegetarian within the group (calling him plant-killer and laughing on the joke a number of instances) and regaled everybody with tales from the previous. At some level, although, he should have determined he was performed partying for the night time. While everybody was in the midst of ingesting, speaking, consuming the lights within the room went out and a booming voice mentioned Party khatam.

If Rishi Kapoor might tweet one final tweet, hed in all probability say Party khatam as a result of its simply the form of factor he would say. And Id like to consider hes taken the get together upstairs and walked in to that place saying, Party shuru.

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Rishi Kapoor wasn't afraid to be himself, both online.. amid celebrities who thrive on political correctness - Newsjok

Here’s What Makes The 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury GT So Special – HotCars

The story of Plymouth is one of those Shakespearean tragedies of which the history of motoring has just too many. It's a tale of romantic woe, at the end of which both lovers end up dead, for all the wrong reasons, and with neither of them ever properly finding out how the other one felt, before it was too late.

In this case, Plymouth is Juliette; specifically, Plymouth is the '70 Sport Fury GT, and Romeo is us, as in the classy muscle car aficionados of the world. I mean OK, it could be the other way round. You can be Juliette if you want. This analogy is weird enough as it is without adding political correctness to the mix, but that's the way the world works nowadays.

The point is that Plymouthgot taken away from us too soon, too young, and for reasons no-one explained properly at the time....and we died of a broken heart as a result. Well OK, we didn't, because we found alternative affection (God we're a shallow fickle bunch), but you get my point.

Related:The Real Story Of The Iconic 1970 Plymouth Superbird

The Fury goes back to 1955, the scion of the Belvedere of Christine fame, that terrified a generation of teenaged movie-goers. Sport Fury came along in 1959, following a brief to create a two-door, hard or soft top optioned, V8 cruiser to fill the niche left by the discontinuation of the parent model, and its replacement regular Fury, sedan and wagon versions.

By the end of the 1960s, the Fury range was into it's fifth iteration; square had become angular, and despite rocketship fins being a thing of the past, the space age continued in the form of headlights that went away, and came back again, at the touch of a switch. Cool had a whole new definition.

This most handsome of Sport Fury designs wasn't the last, but it was by far and away the most memorable. Subsequent models just simply went off the boil in terms of looks, but the '69-'73 conjured the impression of an aircraft carrier wearing cowboy boots. Of those years, the GT option only ever rolled off the production line in 1970 and '71.

It had brawn aplenty to match its sleek-yet-rugged composure; the smallest donk on offer was a 3.7-liter slant six, and although the standard was the 5.2-litre (318 cubic inch) 360-horse V8, the menu ran all the way to a drool-provoking 7.2 litre big block V8, that held the whip over 425 rambunctious horses, and could catapult the nearly-two-ton brute from 0-60 in less than seven seconds. If that sounds impressive, and it does, it's the same donk that carried Jake and Elwood's original Dodge Bluesmobile to victory over the Illinois Nazi Party (and numerous enforcers of the law).

Related:Hollywood Star! 1958 Plymouth Fury "Christine" Movie Car Hits Auction

Nineteen-seventy's Sport Fury GT recalls a genuinely magnificent, and tragically long-gone, age of men and machines. Gasoline was cheaper than water, steel was plentiful, and lines and panels alike were generous, the lid of the trunk alone looked like it could accommodate a full-sized tennis court, and the engines were hewn from volcanic rock and pig iron, by mountain men wielding Thor's hammer.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, was the epitome of the muscle car; massively big, awesomely stylish, stupidly fast, insanely thirsty, and with that deep rumbling thunder that was so low and throaty that it was more felt than heard, and only dogs could audibly detect the growl of the bottom notes. Actually make that wolves. Big, ferocious wolves, alone, noble, and aloof, running wild across vast empty wildernesses. Oh yes, it was a special car.

The 1970 was the last of the Sport Fury GTs to be offered in two-door only. 1971 saw a four-door sedan and a coupe joining the lineup, though the 4-door was only available with a steel roof. A few regular Furys saw service with several State and City Police departments, but the two-door Sport was the sole preserve of those they might be chasing, although it's probably fair to say they wouldn't have been doing much in the way of catching.

From then until its final demise, Plymouth's cars became more and more badge-engineered versions of other Chrysler brand models.

Related:The 10 Best Cars Plymouth Ever Made, Ranked

Ultimately, however, the Sport Fury GT was feted to the same doom as Plymouth itself; filicide by Corporate Politics. Plymouth was to Chrysler what Pontiac became to General Motors; a sacrifice to the Gods of Accounting and personal preference at Board of Directors level. Both were in-betweener marques that were pressed into service to rescue their respective parent companies during lean economic times, offering more power and refinement than their baseline stablemates, but at a lower price point than the more recognized luxury brands above them in the food chain. Both outperformed the aforementioned 'superior' badges in the sales stakes, and both subsequently copped the dagger when further downsizing was required. In Plymouth's case it was Chrysler and Dodge that escaped the stiletto of discontinuation in 2001, and Plymouth that ended up bleeding out on the floor of Chrysler's version of the Capulet family crypt.

This clearly angered the Gods of Motoring (who outrank the Accounting Gods in the Pantheon of All Things Right And Fair), and in 2009 Chrysler, which three years prior to the knifing of Plymouth had merged with Daimler, had to be bailed out, first by the US taxpayer, and then by Fiat. Five years after that, in 2014, the Italian giant swallowed what remained, in its entirety.

The 1970 Sport Fury GT was a flash in the pan as a Plymouth, as a muscle car, as a design that represented the conquering of a mighty peak but was never attempted again. It was elegant, powerful, and it oozed machismo; simply too good for this world, perhaps, and maybe that's why it died young. If only it had been as special to the bean-counters of Chrysler as it was to its legion of fans, the love story might have had a happier ending.

Next:Fiat Chrysler And Peugeot Agree To $50 Billion Merger Deal

Here's Why The Gran Torino Sport Of The 70s Aged Terribly

https://www.richardprosserwriter.com/.Richard Prosser is a former two-term (six year) New Zealand Member of Parliament, and magazine columnist.He is a winemaker and viticulturist by trade, and has lengthy experience in a wide range of industries and occupations, in New Zealand and abroad; everything from processing film to building anti-tank missiles to running London pubs, from driving trucks to selling tractors to designing farm irrigation systems, from labouring on building sites to installing vineyards to manufacturing fruit schnapps.Richard is an initiated Reiki Master Teacher, as well as being a self-confessed hunting-shooting-fishing petrolhead redneck, and has had a long association with natural health and complementary therapies.Richards unique perspective and insight stems from experience within both private sector business, and central Government, as well as from having a slightly odd sense of humour.Richard lives in Northamptonshire in England, with his wife Elaine, and their very expensive globetrotting cat, Juliette.

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Here's What Makes The 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury GT So Special - HotCars

Inside the Internet Hate Machine – National Review

TFW No GFAlex Lee Moyers new documentary, TFW No GF, finds the sadness and alienation behind the posturing of the Internets right fringe.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLEDuring the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton delivered a speech raising alarm about Donald Trumps association with the alt-right. In Clintons telling, conspiracy theories and rank bigotry from the dark, far reaches of the Internet fueled Trumps rise. But if Clinton correctly identified a new political movement growing on the fringes of the Web, she misidentified Breitbart and Alex Jones as its ringleaders. In the strange world of 4chan and weird Twitter, the anonymous posters who took credit for memeing Trump to the presidency call the shots.

Since 2016, academics and journalists have offered alternatives to Clintons simplistic characterization of these online communities. Its no easy task: Cloaked in layers of irony and self-reference, they elude conventional analysis. The operating principle in the hodgepodge of gamers, anime fans, and reactionary ideologues that makes up the online far right is a love of chaos, as Angela Nagle points out in her book Kill All Normies. Some espouse explicitly racist and misogynistic views, others want to lash out at political correctness and identity politics, and others still do it just to get a rise out of people.

Alex Lee Moyers documentary TFW No GF is the latest attempt to explore the dark, far reaches of the internet. The film, featured in the 2020 SXSW lineup and released on Amazon Prime Video in late April, follows five members of the nebulous, overlapping subcultures labeled at various times incels (involuntary celibates), NEETs (not in employment, education or training), edgelords, Pepes, and the alt-right. Moyer borrows the lo-fi aesthetics of her subjects: The movie is a pastiche of memes, archival material, and heavily edited footage set to the music of John Maus and Ariel Pink. But while Moyers visual sensibilities evince an appreciation for her subjects, her film raises questions as to whether the online world these men inhabit offers them anything constructive or whether it simply reproduces the dynamics that drove them to seek virtual refuge in the first place.

The confessional narratives of TFW No GF translated from Internet slang, it means that feeling when [you have] no girlfriend contrast with the brash and irreverent online personas of its subjects. Against a backdrop of bleak, postindustrial locales its almost like nobodys here, says one subject of his Washington exurb the protagonists discuss their alienation, social maladjustment, and inability to attract women. They grew up in broken homes and see no entry point into conventional life. Instead of the white picket fence, theyve exiled themselves to their childhood bedrooms.

Critics have called TFW No GF a film about incels, but its more a collage of various online subcultures. Sex, the be-all and end-all of the online manosphere, is an afterthought to the films protagonists. These characters seem to harbor little of the incel rage that has fueled mass shootings and online harassment campaigns. Theyre mostly just depressed, and turn to the Internet as a substitute for community.

But there have always been lonely men. If TFW No GF simply documented depression, it wouldnt be especially interesting. Gogol and Dostoevsky explored male disaffection before Moyers, and offered conclusions more incisive than these guys are not happy besides. The film momentarily moves beyond misery-wallowing 30 minutes in, when a man known on Twitter as Kantbot appears on the screen. Contrasting with the industrial debris and cluttered bedrooms that form most of the films backdrop, Kantbots world Riverside Park, a Manhattan rooftop, and a Columbia Universityadjacent bookstore is sophisticated. He intermittently exhales cigarette smoke while expounding on German idealist philosophy. His urbanity and erudition, if an obvious put-on, set him apart from his fellow travelers: One of these edgelords is not like the others.

Kantbot first gained online notoriety from a viral clip in which he claimed that Donald Trump will complete the system of German idealism to a crowd of anti-Trump protesters in Manhattan. Such trolling has gained him a sizable audience and made him something of an online celebrity. And with his appearance, the film begins to explore the intellectual underpinnings of the online far right. Kantbot says his project is to solve the problem of modernity: the devolution of pure reason into nihilism, hedonism, and solipsism. He sees his tweets as aphorisms in the style of the German philosopher Friedrich Schelling. Kantbots relevance to the film stems not only from his fanbase of likeminded young men but also from his ostensible aim to provide an alternative to the disappointments of contemporary life. He is the bard to the rabble of online sh**posters.

Those edgelords who have attempted to fashion an intellectual project out of their alienation seem to have the most to say about the peculiar contours of online discourse. A more thorough sociology of Internet subcultures would have spent more time exploring these contours, through Kantbot and other pseudonymous intellectuals.

But Moyers ambitions are different. Though TFW No GF flirts with a phenomenology of edgelordism, it prioritizes the personal experiences of its subjects. And while it documents the alienation and resentment that has led some self-described incels to glorify or perpetrate murderous acts, most of the characters extricate themselves from edgelordism by the end of the film. One finds a girlfriend online, another takes to weightlifting and reading philosophy. A meme reading, Were all gonna make it marks a break from the fatalism of the films early acts. Perhaps Jordan Petersons brand of self-help has more to offer young men than posting threats against women on Twitter. Or perhaps these men were never so damaged in the first place, but merely engaged in transgressive online discourse as a distraction.

Once again, Kantbot is the exception he remains extremely online, ending the film in much the same position as when it started, except with 40,000 Twitter followers and a popular podcast. Like other self-styled gurus, Kantbot subsists on the attention of his thousands of anonymous fans, who spend more time vying for a retweet than emancipating themselves.

Thus has the attempt to create an unbounded intellectual space devolved into a replica of ordinary social spheres, with different codes and values but with the same competition for attention. The success of the online Rights minor celebrities depends on a substratum of young men languishing. Vying with the ringleaders ideas might be fruitful, but fetishizing them is not. If there is a hopeful lesson from TFW No GF, its that their followers are starting to realize that.

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Inside the Internet Hate Machine - National Review

New book: War against yellowface in the arts won a victory in Salt Lake City – Salt Lake Tribune

Phil Chan is fighting racism in America, one ballet company at a time.

The co-founder of the advocacy group Final Bow for Yellowface fought one of his bigger battles in Salt Lake City, helping Ballet West navigate reviving a 1925 ballet that included movements, steps and makeup that were undeniably racist by 21st century standards.

The rather sticky process surrounding the Utah revival of George Balanchines Le Chant du Rossignol is detailed in Chans book Final Bow For Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact.

It was the first time Chan was so directly involved as a consultant and it put him in the middle, between dance historians who wanted to change nothing and Utah Asian American activists who were offended by feet shuffling, head bobbing and more.

It showed me that theres room for this conversation. Theres a need for it, and our community is not well prepared to have it, said Chan, who was invited into the process by Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute. Its a much larger conversation than many realize. And there is an interest in doing better and in understanding.

Ballet companies across the country have been confronted about the racist Chinese portions of The Nutcracker, and many have adapted those segments. (In his book, Chan gives Ballet West and Sklute credit for being on the cutting edge of that in 2013.)

But the issue goes much further than that, including everything from the portrayal of Asians in Madame Butterfly to the portrayal of Indians in La Bayadere, which includes the uncomfortable dynamic of watching happy slave girls being bought and sold and raped.

We preach out of one side of our mouth yes, diversity, equity, inclusion. But on the other side, we continue to present what Europeans thought Indian people looked like 150 years ago without any questions asked, Chan said.

The Pennsylvania Ballet recently called on Chan to help adapt its March performance of La Bayadere a ballet that Moscows Bolshoi Ballet performed with several of its dancers in blackface just five months ago.

In the book, the former dancer writes that he was surprised to get a call several years from then-New York City Ballet artistic director Peter Martins to talk about changes to The Nutcracker.

And he never expected that would lead to starting Final Bow for Yellowface (yellowface.org) with his friend Georgina Pazcoguin, a soloist with NYCB; that theyd convince dozens of prominent ballet companies to sign their no-more-yellowface pledge; that theyd consult not just on ballets but on operas, musical theater and more.

And Chan didnt anticipate hed end up devoting so much of his time to the effort.

"It was just realizing that were in the right place at the right time with the right dynamic to push this forward, he said. And, to keep the art form alive, this is probably the best thing we could do for classical ballet.

Hes not out to censor ballet; he wants to help it survive and thrive. Hes told the George Balanchine Trust, which licenses Balanchines work: Yes, I have a pitchfork in my hand. But Im not coming to burn down the castle. Im here to help you build a better castle.

Coming from a place of love

Reading his Final Bow for Yellowface e-book is a lot like talking to Chan. Its conversational and bright, and offers advice and solutions without judgment. (There are plans to publish it in paperback in the coming months.)

He writes that no one should expect him and Pazcoguin to be the Political Correctness Police and ride up on our dragons and smoke out yellowface.

Our approach to advocacy is not adversarial, Chan said. We werent coming to these ballet companies and saying, Hey, you guys are all racist. My approach has been inclusive advocacy. Were insiders and were coming from a place of love because it is in our best interest for ballet to succeed and to continue.

His skills were clearly on display back in August 2019, when Sklute called on him to help Ballet West adapt Le Chant. Dance historian and choreographer Millicent Hodson, who teamed with Kenneth Archer to research and re-create Balanchines work, turned a deaf ear to any suggestion that the racist elements should be changed when she initially met with members of Utahs Asian American community.

Chan didnt criticize her. He stated his views calmly. And he continued to have conversations with Hodson after that public meeting.

You have to give people the benefit of the doubt. And it doesnt mean that theyre bad people, he said. It just means that my ideas have to be stronger and they need to be absorbed by more people in order for the conversation to move forward. Screaming and getting hysterical does me no favors.

If I called Millicent racist right off the bat, thats it. She wouldnt speak to me again," he said. "And I needed to continue to talk to her, even though there were so many things that came out of her mouth that were deeply problematic.

The book is mostly about the Asian American experience, but it can apply to any ethnic minorities and other forms of performance.

Whether its black people, whether its Mexicans on TV, whether its Muslims in popular culture post-9/11, you can apply the same framework to the question what are we putting on stage and why? And if its problematic, what are ways to fix it?

Final Bow for Yellowface is just two people with a website which makes what Chan and Pazcoguin have accomplished all the more remarkable. They have sponsors and they accept donations, but theyre not aggressively fundraising and theyre not a foundation.

Make it diverse, democratic and inclusive

The Final Bow for Yellowface book is a look back and a look ahead. Its a look at Chans life a ballet dancer who was raised in both Hong Kong and the United States by his Chinese father and a white mother and a look at the history of ballet itself.

Traditionally, ballet has been overwhelmingly white. White dancers. White choreographers and artistic directors. White audiences. And the offensive, ethnic stereotyping went largely unnoticed for decades.

But the number of ethnic minority dancers is increasing, and ballet companies are reaching out to diverse communities for new audiences.

The next step is how do we take this art form, which is elitist, aristocratic, exclusive, and make it diverse, democratic and inclusive? he said. "You cant have Petrushka in blackface when you have black people in the room.

When companies try to appeal to ticket buyers by performing tried-and-true ballets, theyre more likely to revive older works created when racism was so casual it wasnt even recognized, rather than commission new works by 21st century choreographers.

But Chan rejects arguments that choreography is somehow sacrosanct in ballet.

We pretend that its for the sake of tradition, Chan said, because our art form is so ephemeral that we need to hold on to as much of it as we can and we are so resistant to any sort of major change disregarding that every show is different and change is happening all the time.

Its weird how were willing to change some things, but not how we deal with race, Chan continued. Youre willing to cut the tutu. Youre willing to let women come on stage. Youre willing to show ankles. Youre willing to let legs go above your head. Yet you still want to do it the chinky way from the 1830s. Why?

When you invite people like me into ballet, youre going to have to start answering those questions.

See the article here:

New book: War against yellowface in the arts won a victory in Salt Lake City - Salt Lake Tribune


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